Today in Irish History – 9 December:

1791 – Birth of politician and diplomat, Sir Thomas Wyse, in St John, Co Waterford.

1845 – Frederick Douglass delivers a speech in Belfast: ‘The Cambria Riot, My Slave Experience, and My Irish Mission’.

1850 – Stokes Law was published on this date. Why do clouds float through the air? It’s one of those questions that sounds daft, but the more you think about it… The first person to answer it properly was physicist, George Stokes, from Co Sligo. Stokes Law concerns particles moving in fluids and it explains why small droplets can remain suspended in air as clouds, before reaching a critical size and falling as rain.

1864 – Birth of sportsmen, Willoughby Hamilton, in Monasterevin, Co Kildare. He was a former co-World No. 1 Irish male tennis player, a footballer and international badminton player.

1912 – Birth of Irish-American politician, Tip O’Neill. O’Neill’s grandfather who was from Mallow, Co Cork emigrated to the US in 1851. Tip O’Neill went on to become Speaker of the House in 1977 a position he held for ten years. Although on opposite sides of the political aisle, O’Neill was very friendly with Ronnie Reagan often swapping profane Irish and ethnic stories. O’Neill was a strong supporter of the Northern Ireland peace process.

1920 – IRA officer, Ernie O’Malley, was captured by British forces in Co Kilkenny with a notebook containing names of his IRA colleagues.

1921 – IRA prisoners begin to be released.

1922 – Two Anti-Treaty fighters are killed in an action at Kealkil, Co Cork.

1952 – The Irish Management Institute holds its inaugural meeting.

1973 – A communiqué was issued which announced that agreement had been reached at the talks at Sunningdale; this communiqué was to become known as the Sunningdale Agreement.

1986 – Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), was expelled from the European Parliament for constantly interrupting a speech by Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister.

1988 – The Michael Hughes Bridge in Sligo is officially opened.

1993 – Death of Danny Blanchflower. Born in Belfast, he was a footballer, football manager, and journalist who captained Tottenham Hotspur F.C. during its double-winning season of 1961. He was ranked as the greatest player in Spurs history by The Times in 2009. He is remembered as one of the great tacticians in the history of the game, renowned for his passing, and as an outstanding right-half.

1994 – A first meeting took place between a Sinn Féin delegation, led by Martin McGuinness, Vice-President of SF, and Northern Ireland Office (NIO) officials on behalf of the British Government. The British officials raised the issue of the handing in of weapons while SF pressed for ‘parity of esteem’ for the party. This was the first meeting between SF and British officials in 22 years.

2000 – Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern arrives for the third day of the European Summit in Nice. Leaders of the 15 EU states have convened in this heavily guarded city to tackle a tough agenda which centers on the future structure of the European Union and the integration of new member states.

2002 – Carlow town wins first place in the inaugural all-Ireland anti-litter league. Accepting the award, Carlow’s civic leader Mayor Michael Abbey said the town had enthusiastically embraced the competition which involved 29 towns, including three from Northern Ireland.

2002 – Tourism Ireland and Bord Fáilte unveil plans to increase the number of tourists by 5% in 2003, despite the prospect of higher prices across the sector.

2005 – Nearly 150,000 people take to the streets as the Irish Ferries protest mushroomed into the largest public demonstration the country has seen for two decades.

2005 – President Mary McAleese and Queen Elizabeth II meet in Northern Ireland. According to President McAleese, this historic event could clear the way for an unprecedented State visit. No British monarch has made such a trip since George V visited Dublin in 1911, a decade before partition.

Photo: Mt Errigal from Errarooey Beg, Co Donegal, Jennifer Sayers Photography

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